Contact - SMS

 

Method

In the left sidebar click Groups → Mass Contact. Then select the SMS Method.

To use this feature, an SMS service needs to be setup. Use either our Integrated SMS and Voice Service or contact our support team if you need to enable Twilio SMS and Voice.

 

~ Twilio Number

If using Twilio, make sure to choose the correct number to send the SMS from. There can be multiple numbers available depending on the account setup.

The integrated SMS service does not need this option because ALL messages come from one shortcode number. That number is 22383 or 29988.

 

Choose Group(s) and/or Add Recipients

  • Start typing a name to activate the search against your Group list. Relevant results will show below the search bar.
  • Click the Group name to select it.
  • If more Groups are needed, keep starting the search again to add additional ones.

  • Remove a Group by clicking the Red 'X' next to the group name.

  • A Group is a collection of names. Use the 'Add Recipients' or 'Edit Recipients' options to manually edit the list of names.
  • The 'Add Recipients' option allows for a stand-alone way to manually create a list of contacts from the database instead of using a Group. This way you can send to a single person or a few people quickly.
  • By clicking on 'Edit Recipients', the populated list allows for unchecking anyone you do not wish to include in the Contact.

To SMS an individual, they must be a contact in your Database. The member will also need a number in the 'PHONE (CELL)' field.

 

Include

The three options are

  • Active - Anyone noted as active in the Group(s) selected.
  • Inactive - Optionally include anyone that is marked as inactive in the Group(s) selected.
  • Send to Parents of Group Members - Particularly useful for youth staff! Choose a group(s) with children in it. Then, based on the family relationship statuses in the linked family (Family positions of Primary, Spouse [husband or wife], and Partner), anyone with a parent position will get the SMS.

 

~ Errors

If members in the Contact list do not have valid contact information, a notification appears and lets you know this along with a count of how many people may potentially not have a valid number (Troubleshooting FAQ). Member phone numbers can be updated in the modal after clicking the link or find the member profile and resolve it under the Edit tab.

 

Body

Craft a simple SMS message to your contacts and aim to keep it under 140 characters. There is a counter showing the total count to give an idea of what is left. Having under this amount of characters allows for the message to all be delivered under one message. Over that limit will split the SMS into multiple texts for the recipient. 

Should a good bit of information need to be conveyed (more than 140 characters), use a URL shortening service like Bitly to add a link to your website. That webpage can then show all the information needing to be conveyed along with having features like a web form. Having an account with a provider like Bitly will also give access to features like click counts to show how many times that link was used. A helpful tool if you are trying to measure this! This service provider is free to set up an account with.

As a best practice, it is important to not copy and paste content directly from email editors/software or from word processors like Microsoft Word. Pasting into the message body directly from these sources introduces hidden formatting which will change the look of your message. When copying and pasting are needed, we advise using a text editor like Notepad or Text Edit as a middle ground. Paste your message content into the text editor of your choice to remove this hidden formatting. Then copy all of your now cleanly formatted text into the message editor.

Optional place holders to auto-fill in the name of the member receiving the message for a personalized feel is also available. Use either the @NAME for just the First Name of the member or @FULLNAME for the First Name and Last Name. If a Preferred Name is in the member's profile, this will be used instead of the First Name. Also, make sure the placeholder is in full caps. Lower case lettering will not trigger the placeholder. Other placeholders in the software are not supported at this time.

It is also important to consider that the person's name will count toward the total SMS character count in the body. Take this into consideration as you craft your message.

 

Log Contact as Interaction

Logging a contact as interaction is a great way to keep track of the contact(s) made to a member right on their profile. Your email will be logged under your interaction type with the message body for later reference.

Schedule Sending for Later

When a scheduled message is created, it is saved to the logged-in user profile. This is important to know if you need to adjust the scheduled message content, settings, or time. Admins can log in as the user to edit this or the sender can adjust this also.

Check to schedule the message for later. Add the correct date and time you want the message to send. This time setting references the preference set for the time zone under General Settings  → General.

Should the scheduled message need to be edited/changed, you can load it again.

Select the message from the drop-down. This will load the settings and the message body to update with new information. Use the green button to save your updated 'Edit Scheduled Message' or red 'Delete Scheduled Message' button at the bottom to fully delete the SMS if it is not needed anymore.

Include Yourself on This Message

Add yourself as a recipient of the message. Especially if you are not one of the people in the group or contact list. A copy of the message will be sent to your primary email address.

 

Complete the message by clicking  SEND

 


 

FAQ's

• What happens if someone replies to an SMS?

If someone responds to your mass text (SMS) message, their response will come to the primary email of the person who sent the message. This allows you to easily ask for feedback if/when needed.

• Are there SMS subscription control words?

The texting system allows members to use the following keywords to manage their SMS notifications

  • "Start" → subscribe | resubscribe
  • "Stop" → unsubscribes the recipient and sends an email to the mass text sender. This is also not reflected in the account but is visible to the cell number holder via control word codes. It is recommended to place these members in a group for tracking when the notification is received via email.
  • "Cancel" → will stop the subscription
  • "StopAll" → stop any organization from using this number
  • "Block" → mark this number as blocked
  • "Help" → find the status of the subscription

 

SMS Services

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